Friday, March 21, 2008

A Checklist for life? —The Ten COMMANDments

So, I was talking to my husband yesterday about the Ten Commandments and how they still apply to us today as we are living in a grace filled non-religious relationship with Father. However, I just can’t seem to look at the Ten Commandments differently then from a religious point of view. Particularly resting on the Sabbath. It goes into great detail as to how you’re basically not allowed to lift a finger during the Sabbath. Some people I know live by this law so religiously that they will hardly leave their house from Friday evening until Sunday morning and do all of the traditional Jewish stuff during the Sabbath. I just can't see living like that would make anyone more righteous than anyone else. However, if I am supposed to embrace the law and ‘do’ what the ‘commands’ say to do, I want to have a full understanding of it all from a non-religious view. I realize that Joel and others in our blog community talk about the old laws and stuff, and I just want to see if the Ten Commandments go along with the old laws and I want to know if they still apply or not in our freedom with Father now. They were written in the Old Testament so do they still exist today? This may be a no brainer to some and I am sorry if I sound like a complete idiot, but I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around this. Are we supposed to treat this as a checklist and mark the ones that we fail on a daily bases?

I understand that some of the laws were to protect us from harming ourselves, but some just don’t make a whole lot of sense to me now!

Exodus 20
The Ten Commandments

1 And God spoke all these words:

2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 (1)"You shall have no other gods before [a] me.

4 (2) "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 (3)"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

8 (4)"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 (5)"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

13 (6)"You shall not murder.

14 (7)"You shall not commit adultery.

15 (8)"You shall not steal.

16 (9)"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 (10)"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Why are there a lot of ‘do not’ commands? And how is it that Father is behind this still today?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!


Bino Manjasseril said...

Great topic Nicole!

When we use law as a general term, I think we all mean all the law (Mosaic law, moral laws, ceremonial laws, rules, principles etc). That definitely include the 10 commandment as well. The truth is that we are free from it! We are free from all the law. Period. About 2 years ago, In one of our bible study meeting when I said this, a lady asked me, "Come on, we can't just go and commit adultery!". Yes, I agree, but look at this verse:

7Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! (2 Corinthians 3)

What was engraved in letters on stone? 10 commandments!

The reason it has no glory now is because we are under a more glorious ministry - the ministry of the Spirit.

Another verse where Apostle Paul makes this clear:

Everything is permissible—but not everything is beneficial. (1 Cor 10:23)

This is a very scary thought for a legalist. The reason Paul is making it clear is that, he knows the power of sin is in the law, so unless we are free from the law, we will not be free from sin.

There are a whole lot of verse talking about believer's death to the law in order to be alive to Christ Jesus. In Galatians Paul said, we can't even mix a little bit of law with grace (a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!)

How do we answer the question that lady asked?

My answer would be: Why would I go back to the dirt when I am placed on a clean, beautiful place?

I have an identity in Christ, the Spirit who dwells in me convicts me of my righteousness when I act contrary to who I am in Christ! I do not need law for that purpose! In fact law would make my life miserable since it has power of sin dwells in it and needless to say that it is true for 10 commandments as well.

I am glad you brought this up. I am hoping to see others addressing this as well. It took almost 2 years for me to have a total conviction on this. I was scared when I first heard it, then eventually God opened my eyes to see the truth and today I am glad that He did it.

Walking Church said...

Couple of thoughts:

Bino - bang on! You spiked it and did a little dance in the end zone to boot - hard to tell (by the length of your response) you are passionate on this one.

This type of question would have me in minority position if brought up in Seminary.

I have totally appropriate the New Testament (Covenant). I find,and it drives me crazy that many professing Christians sit on the fence of OT and NT. They profess NT but still smell in their diapers of OT...the big 10 is a classic example. For some, the NT isn't enough...they want to add some OT (especially Law that they can keep).

I can tell you, now that I have been born of Spirit, my heart's desire is of a new nature...that of God's Spirit. My new nature craves new desires.

I have no rage-ing passion to put any other God before my Jesus, and although the neighour's wife looks handsome some is not in my new Spirit to commit Adultery. Yes there are days at work - killing appears to have some virtue - NOT...well I am a Postie...albeit Canadian.

The life I now live is onto God. I belong to a Royal family and although some days my behavior defies that, God tells me differently. I am a son of the most High and I am learning how to behave like royalty.

This topic is hard to pull back the layers...the quick on it is ... you r new nature doesn't let you enjoy much or the Adamic flesh patterns. You can try to keep any law, but eventually, it is broken. Try keeping under the speed limit for any length of time...cause we all know good Christian's don't speed!

Walking Church said...

Post thought - if the big ten are fun to keep try keeping the whole code imposed on the Nation of Israel.

I find Leviticus to be such a 'cheery' read . . .nice to know is has absolutely NO application to us . . . although much of the Law given by God was to put the people of Israel into a better hygiene etc. It actually helped the oppressed groups like women, children, orphans ,widows slaves to improve their lives at the time. We chuckle at this code imposed..but at the time it really helped them.

read ('Slaves, Women and Homosexuals') some time - it will open your eyes.

Joel Brueseke said...


This truly is a great topic, and just like Bino and Alvin, I have a heart that loves to discuss this. A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post called The Purpose of the Law, and you can check that out if you'd like.

A couple of things I'd like to highlight from that post are:

1. The Law was given to charge the world with guilt. That is really the reason the Law was given. Romans 5:13 says Before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not imputed (charged to man's account) when there is no law. The law made everyone guilty.

2. The law is not of faith!

3. We had to die to the law in order to be 'married' to Christ. We cannot be in union with both Christ and the Law. It's one or the other. Since the law made us guilty, and since we would never, ever be able to find life in the law, we had to be freed from the law. In order to have Christ (who is our Life), we had to die to the law. After dying to the law, we were then free to be raised again with Christ to Life.

I don't mean to preach here, but I could go for hours on this and it's hard to stop me! In the end, I'll just say that some great scriptures for all this are found in Romans 5-8 and Galatians 2-5.

Matthew said...

Just to add to this whole slew of truth, I'll show you something in Romans 7 after Paul says we have died to the Law (because you can't have relationship with God under it).

"What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness."

If we are at all under the Law, we cannot be saved or in relationship to God because the Law brings wrath. But where there is no Law, there is no transgression. It's really quite simple, but religious people have a way of distorting things.

Matthew said...

I forgot to say that scripture I posted, notice that Paul mentions one of the Ten Commandments. "Do not covet".

So the Law is primarily the Ten Commandments.

Nicole said...

Hello All! Ohh good! I am not off my rocker to have these questions about the Ten Commandments... I love what you all had to say! And I thought that this went along real well with the OT and the rest of the 'laws'. It applies!

Great thoughts everyone and keep em' com'n... I will add more later!

In Freedom, Nicole!

Laurie said...

Seems pretty simple -- "Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." (Ro. 10:4)

The Spirit and the life of Christ will never direct us to focus on external behavior. How could He? It would be against everything Jesus came to do. It would then be about death and not life. Anytime something else becomes the focus it ceases to be about Jesus Christ. (kinda seems to fall under the "have no other Gods before me" command for those impressed by commandments.)

Loved the post Nic and the comments (and the link Joel). Freedom in Christ is a very scary concept indeed and cannot be apprehended without Christ himself.

Matthew said...

I forgot about a scripture in Galatians that always encourages me to give up trying to live up to some moral code of any kind.

Galatians 3:21

"Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law."

In other words, there is no law, from God or man that can give life. Therefore life only comes through Jesus Christ for all who believe (verse 22).

There is no law at all that can aid us in salvation or sanctification! It's Christ through and through!

Joel Brueseke said...

Laurie... It is pretty simple, isn't it! Unfortunately the world's been bombarded with religion, ever since the beginning of man, and it distorts our view of the truth. That's one reason I love discussing this with others. It turns the focus back onto the truth.

Matthew... Great points! If God's law could never produce life, liberty, salvation or sanctification, what does man think he can do to aid in any of this??? :)

Nicole said...

Do you think that the 10 Commandments could be viewed as a religous 'agenda' along with and the rest of the cermonial laws, rules and principles, for all man kind to live by; they were made from man, for man, (by God?) for that time. And since we believe that they no longer apply, is it wrong to say that they have flaws or holes in them?

Just some more thoughts!

In Freedom, Nicole!

Matthew said...

Hey Nicole,

It's not that the Law has flaws. The Law is holy and righteous and is a reflection of who God is. It's us who are flawed. The Law can't do anything other than condemn you. The Law can only show you what Life looks like, but can't give you Life. It simply shows you that you're dead.

I first came to understand the purpose of the Law in the book "7 Biblical Truths You Won't Hear in Church" by David A. Rich. It's a pretty small book of only about 147 pages, but David does a good job in describing the purpose of God giving us the Ten Commandments. The chapter is called "The Ten Commandments Were Not Given To Be Kept".

Paul asks the question in Romans 7 "What then? Is the Law sin?" Nope!...We're the problem. Not the Law.

"For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

Nicole said...

Auhhh! That makes complete sense Matt!

So let me see if this goes along with what you were saying...

The law is like a photograph of God himself, but if 'we' his people try to master the law and be perfect like the Master himself, it is then impossible because we are imperfect creatures and our efforts are again, seen and done in vain. Does that go along with what you were saying???

Great thoughts Bro!

Joel Brueseke said...

Hi Nicole,

Looks like Matthew beat me to it... LOL... He said essentially what I was going to say. Good show, old chap. :)

"The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." (Rom 7:12)

The problem with the Law isn't that the Law itself has any fault. The Law is holy and just and good. The Law's weakness is that it has no power to help human flesh live up to its holy and pure standard!

Matthew brought up a great verse from Romans 8:3-4 that shows us that what the law could not do for us, God did for us by sending His Son.

"...for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God." (Heb 7:19)

The first covenant, with all its laws and statutes, had one fault. The actual laws and statutes weren't faulty in and of themselves. The represented pure holiness. The problem was that people could not keep them.

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: 'Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant...'" (Heb 8:7-8)

God kept His part of the old covenant, but He found fault with man (of course). In fact He knew man would not keep it, but as has been previously mentioned, the Law was needed to charge the world with the guilt of sin.

God then made a new covenant that wasn't dependent at all upon man keeping it. It was a blood covenant between God the Father and God the Son. Both kept their end of the deal, and now, instead of God depending upon us to keep a covenant, He has made us beneficiaries of the blood covenant!

The reason the Law no longer applies in our lives as Christians is because they've been replaced with the very Life of Jesus! We've been declared righteous, with the very righteousness of God that He's given us as a gift, not by our keeping of laws.

Joel Brueseke said...

Looks like I was typing my response after you had posted your last comment, Nicole. :) Your comment goes along with what James said.

James 2:10-11
10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

If we try as hard as we can to keep the perfect law, but yet stumble in just one point, even a tiny point, we are transgressors of the law, and we are guilty.

Jesus has redeemed us from that curse! :) (Galatians 3:13)

Bino Manjasseril said...

In the 8th chapter of the book of Hebrews, the verses from Jer. 31:31-34 quoted to show us the promise of the New (better) covenant was proclaimed years before the incarnation of Jesus. There if you see just before the quote from Jeremiah, on verse 8:

For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:

It appears that there was something wrong with the first (old) covenant, but it wasn't the conevant itself what was bad!

But God found fault with the people.

There you go. It was the people to whom the Covenant was addressed who were bad. Thus, God established a New Covenant on the basis of Grace (Thank God!) where He said, "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.".

bob said...

Hi All

I think it's all been said, so I don't need to add except these verses from Gal.2. (one of which is my favourite)

19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

Thank you Jesus

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